Small Wars Journal

Special Ops Forces: How Elite Forces Became Military Muscle

Special Ops Forces: How Elite Forces Became Military Muscle by Clyde Haberman – New York Times (Retro Report)

When it comes to just about every policy set by Barack Obama, President Trump has proved to be a dedicated Marxist. As in Groucho Marx. In the 1932 film “Horse Feathers,” Marx sang, “Whatever it is, I’m against it.” The same holds for Mr. Trump, who has made dismantling the Obama legacy his goal, one program at a time.

There is a notable exception. Like his predecessor, this president has favored, and even augmented, military actions that rely heavily on Special Operations forces. But skeptical experts say this is one holdover policy that Mr. Trump really should rethink. Their concern is that these elite forces — Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Rangers and Delta Force among them — are stretched thin, with about 8,000 of them active on any given day in more than 80 countries.

“The force has been stretched to the max,” said Wade Ishimoto, a former adviser to the Defense Department on Special Operations. He added: “Special operations should not be the panacea for every kind of difficulty that we find ourselves around the world facing, to include terrorism.”

Mr. Ishimoto spoke to Retro Report, a series of video documentaries that examine important news stories of the past and the way they still shape developments today. Looking back across four decades, this episode shows how two major events — one a spectacular success, the other an abject failure — figured mightily in creating the Joint Special Operations Command, which is central to the United States counterterrorism campaign and other missions…

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